Discussion on Government Support, Taxation, Regulation and Marketing – Joanne Stuart, Policy Advocate for NITA flew into Cardiff to meet with Andrew Campbell, Chair WTA and Adrian Greason-Walker. The Vale Hotel and Resort was the venue for a Summit meeting between the Wales and Northern Irish Tourism Alliances on the 5th July 2019. Celtic fringe issues were discussed at length. Concerns about Government support, the impact of BREXIT and taxation were discussed alongside the UK Sector Deal and its possible impact on NI and Wales. There was mutual recognition as to the similarities with English issues, but also the need to ensure that the differences between the home nations were respected in both product, politics and the resources required, particularly for ancillary tourism services. Brexit and its consequences continue to worry the industry, although both Alliances agreed to continue to work together for the foreseeable future!
Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport launches new UK Tourism Sector Deal
Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched the new UK Tourism Sector Deal. Whilst we in the WTA welcome this new high profile for our industry, how the deal will impact and change the industry in Wales requires further clarification, particularly in relation to the proposal to establish Tourism Zones.
With regard to the Devolved Nations, the strategy notes, 'The British Tourist Authority is the national tourist agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. However, tourism is a devolved competence, as such, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, each have their own national board responsible for attracting visitors. The UK government, where appropriate, will continue to consult the devolved governments on future work and join up on projects the devolved governments would like to partner in. There are also a number of policies outlined in this document where the competence is not devolved, most notably visas and immigration. The Skills and Hospitality Board established by the industry proposes working with all 4 nations on the skills agenda'. The Welsh Government are currently in the process of drawing up a new Wales Tourism Strategy, so it will be interesting to see how the deal will complement the resources that will ensure that the ambitions of both are realised.
A number of key ambitions have been set which include:
In conjunction with the Sector Deal, the UK government is also publishing an International Business Events Action Plan. The Action Plan outlines in detail how the government will support the business events industry in attracting, growing and creating international business events to further reduce the impacts of seasonality on the tourism sector.
Read the full sector deal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tourism-sector-deal
Read the Gov.uk press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-announces-new-tourism-sector-deal
The Wales Coast Path has launched a brand-new app using cutting edge technology to bring the Welsh coastline to life.
To download the app, visit the app store on your phone and search for “Wales Coast Path”.
Wales Coast Path Toolkit - https://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/splash?orig=%2fabout-us%2fmarketing-toolkit
A new school curriculum in Wales to prepare pupils better for the world of work has been released for consultation until 19 July, it will be ready for schools to use in January 2020 - and all schools will use it from 2022. Visit www.gov.wales/educationischanging for an overview of the changes and business page to hear from Leigh Hughes, CSR Director, Bouygues Construction in UK.See how you can work with schools by visiting www.CareersWales.com.
So how will the new curriculum be good for business? Careers Wales Press Release - 'Employers tell us that they want young people to be ‘work ready’ when they leave education, with skills such as problem solving, team work, and communication skills, as well as good literacy, numeracy and increasingly digital skills. The new curriculum will focus on the ‘purposes’ of education – the qualities we all want to see in our youngsters by the time they reach 16. It will be about creating ‘enterprising, creative contributors’ and ‘ambitious, capable learners…’
In the new curriculum, digital literacy will be a core cross curricular requirement, alongside literacy and numeracy. Broader skills such as resilience, communications and problem solving will help young people apply the knowledge they acquire at school and apply to real life situations. Skills and experiences will become important alongside knowledge, because this goes wider than preparing for exams – it’s also about preparing for the changing work environment and life. Critical thinking and problem-solving, planning and organising, creativity and innovation and personal effectiveness will all be developed.
An understanding of the world of work will begin at an early age. We have consulted on making sure that all children and young people in primary as well as secondary school will be able to learn about careers.Six ‘Areas of Learning and Experience’ will replace single subjects, and lessons will be more authentic and relate to real life circumstances. For example, teachers might include entrepreneurship as part of Science and Technology or Expressive arts.
And digital skills will be taught across the curriculum from 3 to 16, alongside literacy and numeracy. Qualifications will evolve to respond to the changes, so Qualifications Wales will be consulting on future qualifications in Autumn this year, and it’s possible that they will look quite different, although the GCSE ‘brand’ may be retained when changes arrive in 2025.
What role can business play? Business has an important role to play. Primary and secondary schools will be doing more to make children aware of careers options, so please welcome them for visits that make children more aware of what’s out there. They’ll also be looking for projects that can be used to create real-world learning experiences. As education is changing, businesses must be willing to help it do so'.
The results indicate a largely mixed year, with a higher volume of overnight visitor trips taken in Wales by GB residents, but lower numbers of international visitors. In the twelve months from January to December 2018, there were 10.021 million overnight trips to Wales by GB residents, which was an 11 per cent increase on the same period last year. Expenditure in Wales was £1,853 million an increase on last year by 13.8 percent. There were increases in the levels of overnight holiday trips and increases in visits to friends and relatives and business trips in the twelve months. There has been a slight decrease in the volume and expenditure of Tourism Day trips taken in Wales during 2018 compared to the same period on the previous year, with 95.7 million trips taken and related expenditure of £4 billion.
There were 941,000 trips taken in Wales by international visitors and expenditure of £405 million. This was a decrease in the volume of trips by international visitors to Wales (12.8%), compared to a 3% fall across the UK as a whole. Visitor expenditure increased by 9.7% to £405 million. Trips for all purposes, holidays and visits to friends and relatives and international business trips fell slightly compared to last year.
Report released by the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee – 'Rethinking food in Wales: Food branding and processing'.
The WTA responded and gave evidence before the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee that has helped inform this report and its conclusions. That report with comment from our Chair, Andrew Campbell, who gave evidence before committee has now been released. The report entitled 'Rethinking food in Wales: Food branding and processing' is now available on the Welsh Government site.
This is the Committee’s second report arising from its ongoing inquiry into 'Rethinking food in Wales'. The report sets out the Committee’s views on how the Welsh Government should approach food branding and processing in Wales in the post-Brexit era. It reiterates the need for a new, over-arching food and drink strategy in Wales, which the Committee called for in its first report, Rethinking food in Wales: Public Procurement of Food. The report also explores how food branding and processing in Wales can be strengthened to enable the sector to meet the challenges associated with Brexit.
Mid Wales Tourism is inviting applications /submissions for the Regional Tourism Award. The team at MWT has been working hard over the past few months to get everything in place and are delighted to have achieved an Awards Trust Mark by the Independent Awards Standards Council. This is an accreditation scheme that aims to raise standards across the business awards industry and demonstrates MWT’s commitment to delivering an exceptional awards programme.
In order to provide consistent messaging to businesses, MWT have put together a ''bilingual partners pack' which includes graphics for your social media messages, text, logos, information etc. You can find all promotional material online on www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk/canyouhelp
If you have any questions at all contact...
www.mwtcymru.co.uk | www.midwalestourismawards.co.uk
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a new campaign aimed at Welsh holiday and travel businesses on the clarity of their terms and conditions. The ‘Small Print, Big Difference’ campaign is being run in partnership with the lead associations representing the holiday and travel industry, including ABTA – The Travel Association, UKHospitality and the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) amongst others.
As holidaymakers get ready to make the most of the Easter break, the CMA’s campaign is calling on holiday and travel businesses to ‘check in’ and make sure they are using fair terms and conditions in their customer contracts. It also encourages businesses to be upfront and clear with their customers about charges and fees, especially in the event of a customer cancellation.
Under consumer law, businesses may be entitled to ask customers to pay a cancellation fee to cover their losses, but the amount they keep must be in proportion to what they are losing. Cancellation terms that don’t follow this approach are likely to be unfair and businesses cannot rely on them to resolve claims or disputes with customers.
A national survey of 2,000 people by Ipsos Mori, released by the CMA today, shows what members of the public feel should happen if they have to cancel a trip. Results for Wales show that:
Another example is when a business insists on a large cancellation fee which bears no relation to the actual losses it experiences from the cancellation. A term is more likely to be fair if it clearly explains how a charge reflects what a business will genuinely lose from a cancellation, and the way this charge is calculated is reasonable.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said:
“The CMA’s campaign has followed legislation aimed at providing crucial accuracy and transparency for both businesses and customers. It is vitally important that our customers have full confidence when they make a booking with a hotel, a restaurant, a B&B or any other hospitality business. A clear understanding of terms and conditions can help foster an open and responsive relationship that gives our customers peace of mind and boosts businesses.”
The CMA’s campaign invites Welsh businesses to ‘check-in’ on their terms to make sure they’re being fair to their customers, by using the CMA’s advice to help them review their contracts. A new website (www.gov.uk/fairterms) contains accessible advice and information for businesses on unfair contract terms law and what they can look for when reviewing their terms and conditions. In addition, the CMA has produced detailed guidance to help businesses and their legal teams understand how to apply the law.
1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter, @CMAgovuk, Facebook and LinkedIn.
2. The Consumer Rights Act 2015, in force from 1 October 2015, contains provisions that aim to protect consumers against unfair contract terms and notices. It applies to wording that lays down the rights and responsibilities of consumers and businesses when entering into agreements with each other. It also applies to consumer notices (often used, for instance, in shops and car parks as well as online).
3. A consumer can challenge an unfair term and seek redress through the courts, if unsatisfied with the business’s response after following its complaints procedures. The CMA, Trading Standards Services and other relevant bodies also have powers to pursue legal action to stop businesses using terms and notices that are unfair. If necessary, this can be achieved by seeking a court order.
4. Consumers who have experienced a problem with a business can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or 03454 040505 for Welsh language speakers. Consumers can also report an issue to their local Trading Standards Office.
5. Enquiries on this press release should be directed to Lauren Broughton – email@example.com / 07725 865063
WTA Chair, Andrew Campbell, attended the recent BTIG meeting held at the VB offices in London. Central to the meeting was discussion around the 2018 ONS figures for overseas visitors to the UK. Overall there were 3% fewer overseas visitors to the UK compared to 2017, representing 1.2 million travellers. Spend was 7% down representing £1.6 billion. Research indicates that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit may be a contributable cause, together with a slowdown in the EU economy. That said, the China market was up 16% and is a continuing “star performer” – providing further evidence as to where future marketing efforts for businesses should be channelled.
Disappointingly, overseas visitor numbers to Wales were 13% down (across all purposes for travel: holiday, business, VFR, miscellaneous) from 2017, although visitor expenditure was 10% up, redressing the 17% downturn in visitor spend experienced during 2017. The statistics raise a concern that during a period of weak UK currency, visitor numbers coming to Wales, not unrealistically, should have been higher. Although many reasons may lie behind this (relating to product or promotion), the WTA has, for the past 12 months, questioned the robustness of research methodology currently employed. In particular the size of the visitor sample being used. It was therefore interesting to note from deliberations yesterday, that due to operational constraints, a smaller sample size was used for the 2018 survey – which might quite possibly have had a bearing on outcomes. If the sample size is down, margins of error can often go up.
Why does this point particularly matter? Quite simply, publication of poor results can create negative perceptions, which in the longer term can affect consumer confidence, adding further competitive pressures to Welsh tourism businesses.
Another hot topic at the meeting was the impact of Brexit upon UK inbound tourism – and recent research undertaken over “Brexit influences” may be accessed through the VistBritain website. Clearly Brexit has created uncertainty within some overseas markets, but VB are taking steps to mitigate pressures. A PR campaign is currently running in Europe which is sending out reassuring messages that, “nothing has changed” and which is further supported by a “Don’t Miss the British Summer” campaign. Commercial activity with existing partners (such as easyJet) are being stepped up – and more supplier content is being added to the website and digital communication platforms.
Presentations were received from VisitBristol (the “Smart City”) about their utilisation of 5G technology through a small number of pilot projects (in conjunction with Bristol University) – and from the Discover England Tourism Exchange GB business to business platform initiative.